Buchholz: Not 100 percent, but I'll start Sunday

Buchholz: Not 100 percent, but I'll start Sunday
October 26, 2013, 5:45 pm
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ST. LOUIS -- Clay Buchholz will make his scheduled start in Game 4 Sunday, but more than 24 hours before his first World Series appearance there still seems to be more questions than answers surrounding him.

"Based on the way he threw [Friday]," said John Farrell, "and as he increased his intensity, he felt good and everything is 'go' for [Sunday]."

Farrell said Buchholz will be monitored closely in his Game 4 start, given that he has seemingly experienced fatigue in the middle innings in his two previous postseason starts. But he added that the Sox won't hold a reliever such as Felix Doubront or Ryan Dempster back on Saturday night to preserve an option for Sunday should Buchholz experience early trouble.

"Stay away from someone [Saturday] for [Sunday]?" said Farrell. "No, tonight is first and foremost . . . We'll go into [Sunday] thinking that [Buchholz is] going to give us what he's been in the postseason. That might be a little bit shorter of an outing than maybe we've seen back in April and May. But he's also been very effective and we're fully anticipating that to be the case [Sunday].'

Buchholz revealed earlier in the week that he's suffering from fatigue in his shoulder, dating back to being sidelined for more than three months during the season with some inflammation in the shoulder joint.

He said he first experienced some "tightness" in the shoulder in the second or third inning of his ALCS Game 6 start a week ago tonight against Detroit, but continued to pitch with diminishing stuff.

"Giving the team a chance to win, that's my goal," said Buchholz. "To be effective is to go out and trust your pitches and throw them to the best of your ability, that's what I've worked up to at this point, and that's where I'm at."

During the season, Buchholz sought a second opinion from noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews to obtain some peace of mind, concerned that continuing to pitch would put his career in jeopardy. Buchholz is still haunted by the lower back stress fracture he dealt with in 2011.

But on Saturday, he said he needed no such reassruance this time.

"I don't think there's any risk there," he said. "My one thing I have on my mind is to go out and compete and go out there for as long as John wants to leave me out there and give the team a chance to win to the best of my ability. Obviously, given the couple of days that I've been out so far, I'm not 100 percent. But I've said it a couple of times this year, I don't think anybody expects to be, at this point in the season, 100 percent.

"It's going to be my first World Series experience, just being on the field and I think the environment and the crowd, that's going to help me out."

Buchholz threw some in the bullpen Saturday as pitching coach Juan Nieves watched, but seemed to go at about half-strength.

A number of former major-leaguers, now working in the media, said Saturday they find it hard to believe Buchholz will be the Game 4 starter. But the Sox -- and Buchholz -- continue to insist otherwise.

"There's not a whole lot of discomfort," said Buchholz. "The ball is not really coming out of my hand like it did in spring training or the beginning of the season. But I think that's true for the majority of the guys that have been pitching all year and something that I've had to deal with over the last three-and-a-half months.

"But with this scenario that's going on right now, I'm going to tell them the truth (if he can't continue or is fatigued)."

Farrell said the Sox, while not having someone designated as a piggyback starter, will be mindful of Buchholz's limitations.

"Going into tomorrow," said Farrell, "there will be at least a thought of a game time or a range of pitches. It's kind of an estimation; it's not something exact . . . You go in and pay close attention to every pitch that's thrown, look at how they're maintaining their arm strength or overall stuff, and you adjust accordingly."